Definition of percuss in English:



  • Gently tap (a part of the body) with a finger or an instrument as part of a diagnosis.

    ‘the bladder was percussed’
    • ‘Accordingly, when percussing a patient's abdomen in the presence of ascites, areas of dullness and tympany should shift depending on whether the patient is lying supine or on his or her side.’
    • ‘Various parts of the body were moved, percussed and listened to.’
    • ‘At each setting, the practitioner would percuss the reagent's abdomen to determine the areas of dullness.’
    • ‘Palpate the chest for subcutaneous emphysema and crepitus, and percuss for dullness, an indication of consolidations or effusions.’
    • ‘With the patient supine you percuss along a transverse line from the umbilicus into the flank to establish the level of dullness that signifies the lower extent of bowel.’


Mid 16th century (in the general sense ‘give a blow to’): from Latin percuss- struck forcibly, from the verb percutere, from per- through + quatere to shake, strike.